Just so everyone knows: I’m not interested in soft-pedalling quotes, ideas, and comments just because someone might get offended. Don’t like it, don’t read it. On with the show.
And with those words began the most hilarious 24 hours of my, admittedly short, Twitter existence. One Aaron Barr, it seemed, had irritated the wrong people: they are smarter, more skilled, had a far better sense of humour, and one of them was a 16 year-old girl. In short, Mr Barr was pwned. This was soon followed by my first favourite tweet:
LOL I AM TWEETING SUCH BATSHIT THINGS IT’S ALMOST AS IF ANON HAS HACKED ME: http://vocaroo.com/?media=v4cjgXe63PVDI92uR
And so they had. What followed was deliriously funny, as well as highly informative. Not, to be sure, in the manner which Mr Barr had intended: he was pursuing a Tantalusian effort of ‘finding the leadership of Anonymous’. He seemingly wanted fame from being the hot-shot dude who helped bring in the super-epic-secret Leaderz to face the punishment for their supposed crimes. In the end, though; “All your Barrs are belong to us“.
I’ve observed that many media outlets are trying to cast the ‘attack’ on Mr Barr as an act of desperation, for fear of the ‘inner circle’ being ‘revealed. Nothing could be further from the case, and anyone who bandies that thought about is both ignorant and an ideologue. There is no ‘inner circle’ of Anonymous; there are no membership cards. One doesn’t pay one’s dues and then get the official Guy Fawkes mask with autographed D&D card in the mail a few weeks later.
In the worlds of Anonymous, they did it for the lulz, not in self-defence. The idea of cracking a cyber security firm’s servers, and its executives’ various internet accounts, mostly for the fun of it seems to escape the media. But more importantly, what many, if not most, media reports of Mr Barr’s castigation have missed, is what happened to Mr Barr’s research: the list which launched 24 hours of delight.
To set the record straight, Anonymous released Mr Barr’s ‘research’, which I call the ‘Leaderz List’. Download it here. If you’d also like to get an idea of other facets of Mr Barr’s life, and the internal workings of his employer, HBGary, you can get a ~4 GB torrent of all that fun stuff.
Before moving on, let’s first consider that infamous list, and see what its qualities are. Reading through the list it seems to be little more than a Nixonian “Enemies List” hodge-podge of people who Mr Barr felt was ‘involved’ in Anonymous. There is no ‘evidence’ which I can detect, just a badly formatted table stuffed full of baseless assumptions. Nowhere can I see how these people are serious members of Anonymous, much less part of some vast international conspiracy of an ‘inner circle’.
In passing, I’d like to congratulate Ms Edith Komes on having been sufficiently ‘involved’ to make Mr Barr’s brain whirl with fantasies of finding the ‘inner circle’. Ms Komes, by the way, is the source of the excellent Big List of WikiLeaks, which you can read here. Anyone who knows the enthusiastic but cybernetically challenged Ms Komes, would know that to put her on a list of Anonymous ‘insiders’ speaks volumes about Mr. Barr’s incompetence, and confirms for me that his list is the garbage that Anonymous claims it to be. I’d also like to announce I’m highly pissed off that I didn’t make it on the list, although I hope to rectify that in the future, as Mr Barr continues his ‘research’ and finds this essay dissing him.
Moving right along.
Some of the less dim-witted detractors of Anonymous – you know who you are – have been quick to use this release of the ‘Leaderz List’ as an example of how Anonymous is ruthless and will offer up its members as meat to placate the lions. The release is nothing of the sort: Anonymous is making a very well-considered point.
This is simply a list of people who ‘like’ Anonymous-related pages on Facebook, have Guy Fawkes masks for display pics, and perhaps chat time and again on AnonOps IRC channels. Several named individuals (Daily Kos, Crikey) have come out to express dismay that they were targeted – and I use that term purposefully – by Mr Barr. Mr Barr is more a threat to national cyber-security than this lot, since his incompetent firm apparently is on the government payroll in the service of – you guessed it, national cyber-security.
What this ‘Leaderz List’ is, is far from research: it is a list for systematic bullying. Even if Mr Barr is being honest when he insists that he was not going to release the information to the FBI – which I take with hefty block of salt – he was still going to pursue those people as part of his tracking down the ‘inner circle’. These are people who are innocent of any crimes, and have done nothing more than exercise their right to ‘like’ Facebook pages, enjoy Guy Fawkes masks, and chatter on IRC.
Cyber-stalking, anyone? Thanks to a certain troll [EDIT: oops, the troll done gone got hisself deleted. You can still admire his weirdy-beard here] on the Facebook WikiLeaks discussion board, I’ve got some news: if Mr Barr used Facebook to gather any information on his list, he’s violated Facebook Right and Responsibilies Section 5.7! Awesome! He’s doing one of the things I didn’t to, but I got kicked off of Facebook, and this bloke is still there! By the way, thanks for the heavy lifting on reading the Facebook rules, John. I couldn’t have made this post without you.
Had this list remained secret, and had it ended up in the hands of the FBI, a case of creepy cyber-stalking would have morphed horrifically into a situation where people, without being charged with any crime, would have nonetheless become suspects. The FBI would have almost certainly brought certain facets of the Orwellian PATRIOT Act to bear against these people, and they would never have known it.
Anonymous, therefore, did not throw these people to the wolves, but rather ensured that they receive due process. The people listed by Mr Barr now know they were being stalked, but more importantly, the ability of the FBI to pursue these people via the despicable PATRIOT Act has been hampered. If the FBI were to still pursue these people, it will politically motivated by the strange desire to ‘do something’, and not based upon any notion of due process.
In essence, by releasing that list, Anonymous ensured that Habeas corpus would be enforced. Additionally, it revealed to depths to which the US government and its allied henchmen will sink in order to find what they are looking for. Since it is logistically impossible to round up every person who uses a Guy Fawkes mask as a display pic, or chats on AnonOps, and torture them, why not randomly target the ‘likely suspects’. People like Ms Komes, because of their earnest activity and support, became recast in Mr Barr’s sick world as criminals.
Check out this excellent article from Crowdleak about the delightful Mr Barr and his band of merrily incompetent men!
This from WL-Central: unless HBGary is working for Homeland Security and/or the FBI, what the company proposed seems of dubious legality.
The firm Palantir has publicly disowned its cooperation with HBGary, and Aaron ‘Superspy’ Barr by extension. This is a complete validation of Barrgate! This shows that the Anonymous-released information is completely accurate.
Some dorkwad on Twitter has deleted all those hilarious threads. Oh, I guess that would be Aaron Barr. You can follow the ‘real’ Aaron Barr here.
If anyone wants the original Anon tweets from @aaronbarr, I have a copy; it’s like a trip down lulzy lane. If you want your own copy, pop me an email, which you can find on Contact Me.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.